Infant/toddler motor skills as predictors of cognition and language in children with and without positional skull deformation
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To estimate associations between early motor abilities (at two age points, 7 and 18 months on average) and cognitive/language outcomes at age 3. To determine whether these associations are similar for children with and without positional plagiocephaly and/or brachycephaly (PPB).
The Bayley Scales of Infant/Toddler Development 3 were given at all age points to 235 children with PPB and 167 without PPB. Linear regressions assessed longitudinal associations between fine and gross motor scales and cognition/language. Item analyses examined the contributions of specific motor skills.
Associations between 7-month motor skills and cognition/language were modest overall (effect sizes [ES] = − 0.08 to 0.10, p = .13 to .95). At 18 months, both fine and gross motor skills were associated with outcomes for children with PPB (ES = 0.21 to 0.41, p < .001 to .01), but among those without PPB, only fine motor skills were associated with outcomes (ES = 0.21 to 0.27, p < .001 to .001).
Toddlers’ motor skills were associated with cognition and language at 3 years, particularly among children with PPB. Interventions targeting early motor development in infants and toddlers with PPB may have downstream benefits for other outcomes.
KeywordsPlagiocephaly Brachycephaly Motor skills Infant Development
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
None of the authors have any conflicts of interest to disclose.
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